Aging doesn’t mean you can’t continue living a fulfilling and happy life.
It simply means you should be more mindful about your health. When it comes to heart failure, there are things you can do to delay or even possibly avoid or reverse it. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is common and affects people of all ages. Though a doctor can only make a proper diagnosis, there are early warning signs of Congestive Heart Failure that may indicate you’re at risk for heart failure. Learn more about the signs and symptoms associated with congestive heart failure and how to effectively treat this chronic condition even when you’re over the age of 60.
Heart Failure in the U.S.
CHF is a chronic medical condition that affects over 5 million people nationwide. Remember that CHF is not a primary illness, rather it’s caused from other medical conditions. The good news is, you can lower your chance of having heart failure by managing your condition and changing your lifestyle.
U.S. loses roughly $30 billion each year due to heart failure treatment, health care services, and time missed from work due to CHF. Knowing how to avoid or manage heart failure gives you the tools to minimizing money and time lost. Keeping your routine appointments with your doctor and getting your heart monitored can help you save money in the long run. Checking your symptoms and discussing them with your doctor can help prevent a serious heart problem later.
Signs & Symptoms of CHF
Naturally, as you get older, you tend to feel less energetic than you did in your younger years. Loss of vitality and fatigue are all part of the natural aging process. However, feeling extremely tired on a regular basis and experiencing shortness of breath could indicate a more serious issue with your heart. It’s important to know what the early signs of CHF to ensuring a long and healthy life. Signs and symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure include:
- Ankle swelling
- Lung congestion
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Irregular heartbeat
These signs and symptoms should be taken seriously. Consult with a doctor for medical advice if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above. While they can be hard to spot, it’s important to keep an eye out for Congestive Heart Failure symptoms and err on the side of caution when it comes to your well-being.
Treating Congestive Heart Failure
If you’re wondering if congestive heart failure is reversible, the answer is yes. Practicing mindful living can improve heart failure and lead to better heart efficiency. If you’re a senior who’s been diagnosed with stage A or B CHF, you will need to monitor and manage your blood pressure and cholesterol to prevent further cardiovascular damage. You won’t show symptoms at stage A, so you can continue to maintain an active lifestyle. Becoming and staying physically active (as you’re able), quitting smoking, and lowering or discontinuing your alcohol consumption can also help slow the progress of CHF. Stage B may require you to be more proactive with routine checkups and reassessing your physical activities. You may be more limited to what you can do physically but working with your physician to find safe exercise and activity options can make your life more comfortable.
If you’re in stage C or D of your CHF diagnosis, you may have to consider surgical treatments and other medical procedures. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator, coronary artery bypass surgery, and certain cardiac therapies are all treatments people have had success with in the past. Catching CHF early on means you can avoid any drastic surgeries or procedures and learn to simply live a healthier life as you age.
If your CHF is in a later stage of development, you’ll want to speak with your doctor regarding the best treatment options going forward. Elderly individuals diagnosed with CHF can benefit from certain medical treatments. People have had success with diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta blockers, so explore these options more in-depth with your doctor to find out if any of these procedures could benefit you.
You can still live a healthy life with or without a CHF diagnosis. CHF doesn’t have to slow you down in your later years of life. If you’ve been diagnosed with heart failure, talk to your doctor, family members, friends, or even local support groups to help you through your diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. There are resources available to help you live and cope with the long-term challenges of congestive heart failure.